GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – A Greenville County Council proposal to move certain books from the children’s section of the Greenville County Public Library System is now dead.
Council defeated the proposal after a lengthy debate on Tuesday night by a vote of 9-3.
Councilman Joe Dill brought up the resolution to Greenville County Council.
His proposed resolution would have directed the Greenville County Library System Board of Trustees to “order that no books or content, including digital copies or online accessible materials, promoting sexuality be allowed in the Children’s Sections of our public libraries.”
“It got to where it was such an emotional thing that we felt like, several of us on council felt like we needed to get some kind of closure as to what’s going on and what can we do,” Dill said. “I mean ultimately, the county council is responsible for the Library System. We fund it. We appoint the board. So, the board is there as a policymaking body and we are a policymaking body, so what this resolution does is sends our concerns to them and ask them to look into them.”
“All I know is that they set up a committee of library board members who today were supposed to look at those books, and where they need to be and all of those kinds of things,” Dill said.
The resolution was killed altogether. Some council members believed this should be out of their hands.
“We just do not believe that’s our job to get involved in the library’s business. We appoint a board. We can not set a precedent of micromanaging the library board, because if we do that, then, we will be micromanaging all boards and commissions that we appoint,” said Ennis Fant, Greenville County Council District 25.
“So, we believe it’s in the best interest of everybody if that’s something that we stay out of, and let the library board do it’s thing and handle their business, but it’s not something that we should be involved in,” he said.
This didn’t sit well with the Greenville Republican Party, which originally called for the books in questions to be moved from the children’s section to the adult section.
“I’m extremely disappointed. This was going to be a win no matter what. No matter if the resolution got passed or people started seeing where the problem lies. And the problem lies in county council and elected officials who are unwilling to stand up for what’s right for the local community,” said Jeff Davis, chairman of Greenville County Republican Party.
“We don’t have jurisdiction over telling the library what to do, that’s first thing,” Fant explained. “Number two, my concern was that you shouldn’t have sexually explicit materials in the children’s section. Well, they already have a policy in place that prohibits sexually explicit material from being in the children’s section, so I don’t have any concerns.”
During the meeting, Dr. Sid Cates, a Greenville County Library System Board Trustees member stated a committee came up with a recommendation for their full board to consider, but stated that neither he nor the committee members are ready to share those details publicly.
He said they will present those recommendations to their board in December.
Before the meeting, we asked Dill what it would mean if the resolution was shot down at the meeting.
“That’s the end of it as far as we’re concerned, unless somebody brings it back up,” Dill said.